Staff Spotlight: Joel Cheah

Joel is currently the manager of Upcycled by FE, with a focus on recycling plastic from the source, and has a background in Marine Biology.


What is your favorite travel memory?

Diving in unexplored-by-me coral reefs, being surprised and had a 'i see the light moment' by a 3m slaneeshy (warhammer 40k reference) manta ray swooping 1cm above my head, accidentally waffling a sea urchin right towards my friends face with the propulsion from my fins. Travelling with loved ones. Adventures and exploring cultures.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Grown a lot as a social entrepreneurship, learned new skills in sustainable waste management, community development, consultancy and managing groups. While expanding my soft skills in stakeholder and event management; sales and marketing with MNCs and NGOs.

I'm group trips I've gained experience in different outdoor activities and facing my fears, learned how not to freak out in front of kids while facing my fears (e.g. Heights) during rock climbing. (if you panic, EVERYONE PANICS)

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

How the oceans and marine world inspired them towards a career in sustainability.

Initially the student wanted to work in business. But the trip inspired her to work in the sustainability side of corporate to help them achieve their criteria for sustainability.

By proving experiential programs, then only do people understand. Hence our company motto, connecting people to nature.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Any diving programs really! As long as my marine biologist heart is happy, I am happy.

For whose who wants a full adventure, the jungle to reef experience is the best, as you'll be hosted by conservation projects both in the terrestrial and marine sector, while exploring and understanding the plethora of biodiversity Malaysia has to offer

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is one of the only conservation centric companies which has a Motec license to continuously fund our marine projects. As a social enterprise, our goal is to develop environmentally and economically sustainable projects to provide job opportunities for local communities, developing environmental stewardship in oceans and rivers.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Perseverance and passion in backend of the business. They will be roller coaster cycles in business and life. It's all about getting back up, after getting punched in the face.

Humility and confidence on the front end of the business. Being open and compromising when needed as everyone is also fighting to feed their families. And also saying NO, if you're finding yourself unable to do collaborate or sell, due to difference in principals or lack of manpower.